This is with reference to MNA Ayaz Amir's opposition to the proposal that the DHA Islamabad be given any privilege through legislation. It is time the top hierarchy of our defense establishment realized that the DHAs have been, and still are, hubs of large-scale irregularities and they have actually tarnished the image of armed forces. In the eyes of the public, these are housing societies, just like any other society, whose members profit from selling plots that are allotted to them at subsidized rates. Numerous scandals have been unearthed regarding the DHA Lahore in which billions of rupees were ripped-off from private citizens/civilians. The Karachi DHA has also acquired great notoriety as a 'tanker-mafia' and other various embarrassing ventures. A few former, or serving, officers involved in the real estate business have brought such a bad name to others that the entire army has been damaged. Why is the defense establishment putting its officers corps to test even though it knows full well that in the Musharraf era, senior officers of the rank of Lieutenant General/Major General/Brigadier were lured to indulge in what can only be termed as open and blatant corruption. As far as DHA Islamabad is concerned, it is public knowledge that the administrators had signed it off entirely in a deal with a private company of a very controversial real estate tycoon, Riaz Malik. The DHAs, in any case, have nothing to do with national security and must be subjected to strict regulatory controls. In their present form, they have become cartels with powers to forcefully acquire, take-over or occupy private agricultural lands for profitable business ventures. They have also been given powers to levy huge taxes on private citizens living in the housing societies they build. These private citizens have purchased plots from uniformed officers at a premium. What has that got to do with national security, I fail to understand? In the case of the Lahore DHA at least, the national security has been actually breached by the expansion of its phases and farmhouses to the periphery of our second defense line. -SHAHZAD KHALIL, Sialkot, December 20.